Friday, August 9, 2013

Argentina impress with 58-12 win over NSW in Salta

Photo: UAR Juan Imhoff scores

A strong first half performance from Santiago Phelan´s Pumas saw the South Americans complete their preperation for the Rugby Championship in style. The error-ridden performance from six days earlier was not repeated as Argentina produced a far improved performance with the forwards utterly out-playing their Australian opponents. The solid platform which saw the Pumas dominate in the scrum and have the better of play at the break down saw the backs given good opportunities and they responded much better than was the case in La Plata. 

The scoring began in the 5th minute with Felipe Contepomi landing a penalty. Two minutes later the first try of the match was scored with Pumas scrumhalf Martín Landajo scoring a solo try after spotting space and running clear. It was converted by Contepomi but Juan Martín Hernández then took the next two attempts at goal. He landed a long range penalty in the 13th minute and converted a try scored by Gonzalo Camacho in the 21st minute. He had a solid match on the right wing to all but wrap-up the starting position and should be partenered by Juan Imhoff who was the starting left winger. Imhoff scored Argentina´s third try and created the fourth as his pace and ability to get through the gap and withstand tackles was evident. 

The Waratahs got on the board early in the second half and followed up with several minutes of positive play in the Pumas 22. Argentina held firm, however, and got control back from the visitors. Argentina made a host of changes which saw all players given game time. There were clear cases of some players proving their worth by performing better than the same player in his position. Joaquín Tuculet´s opportunity of starting in the midfield was mixed as he had poor ball handling skills at time but was on hand to support Imhoff when needed. His replacement, Marcelo Bosch, clearly has the 13 shirt on his back already. Similarly the question over inside centre seems to have been cleared up as Felipe Contepomi was better than his replacement Santiago Fernández. 

The question over who ought to play flyhalf may also have been clarified as although Lucas González Amorosino was good on counter attack and while Hernández was very effective at flyhalf the final decision very well may see Hernández moving to fullback and Nicolás Sánchez starting and kicking goals. Sánchez was a second half replacement and converted three out of four tries. The tries were scored by Juan Leguizamón, Horacio Agulla, Pablo Matera and Agulla. The try scored by Agulla was from a Sánchez kick in which the Bordeaux-Begles pivot chipped over the defence and a chasing Agulla was able to collect the bounce to score.

All of the try scorers enhanced their reputations with Matera, especially, impressing as his ball carrying skills were arguably comparable to those of Sergio Parisse, Imanol Harinordoquy and Pierre Spies from several years ago. Matera proved to be a more effective ball carrier than the other backrowers including Julio Farías Cabello who was also a replacement. Phelan will now have to see if Matera can start with either Leguizamón or Leonardo Senatore missing out. He will also have to consider not starting secondrower Manuel Carizza due to Mariano Galarza having performed well for a second straight week. Patricio Albacete could therefore find himself locking the scrum with Galarza. 


  1. Hugely improved performance by the Pumas, and very good match summary. The only thing I might disagree with is Tuculet - thought he had an decent game given he was out of position. He looks more capable of breaking the line than Bosch. But no doubt Bosch will be more reliable in defence.

    Any injury concerns? Figallo took a head knock.. Lobbe, Ayerza, Camacho and Contepomi all got attention from the medics at various points.

    - R

  2. Y VAMOS VAMOS TATI PHELAN Y VAMOS VAMOS TATI PHELAN QUE DE LA MANO DEL TATI EL RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP VAMO A ROMPER !!....OLE, OLE OLE OLE !! OLE OLE !! one BEH ???? ....OHHHH....were is the funny guy when we need the most out of him to shed some light on what our ARGENTINIAN AMATEUR coach needs to do ????

  3. I'd like to comment on the poor crowd for this game, particularly as Salta is not exactly a stadium with a huge capacity anyway. Just where are all those Pumas supporters? Are Argentina going to sell-out their home games I wonder?

    And yes, apologies for the pathetic NZ Herald response about Argentina in the RC. Completely useless, lazy and arrogant journalism from those two. The elder guy, Wynne Gray, is an arrogant twat anyway!(And yes I'm a Kiwi and from Auckland too)

    1. Hi Simon,

      It was Salta´s second match in as many months and the public knew it was not a match of significance. Had it been a test with the Pumas playing then it would have been full as it was for a full strength Argentina v England in 2009.

      The stadium seats 20,408 and there were 8,000 in attendance. By way of comparison there were 6,000 to see the All Blacks play Canterbury in their warm-up. This comparison suggests there is little to be concerned about.

      Matches in the Rugby Championship will be strongly attended. One is confirmed as being sold uot already.

      Sources for attendances:

    2. There was a decent crowd of 15,000 for the Georgia game. Which considering that was essentially an Argentina Jaguars team really, and they had poor results against England, I thought that was an encouraging sign that the country may be able to get behind Tier 2 nations and manage 15,000 or 20,000 crowds for the smaller games of the tournament.

  4. Paul there was 6,000 in an unofficial 40min each way matches v both Wellington and Canterbury at a venue which was probably of no more capacity anyway. You can't compare that to an official match of your country's national team v Super rugby class opposition in a stadium with a significantly bigger capacity. Also stop using the "there was already a top class game there within in the last couple of months" excuse. If Argentina is to host the RWC, venues will have to host multiple games in a short period of time.

    See this is my problem with this site. You are eager to always put the boot into other nations but steer away from looking at the case in Argentina. That's called double standards. Instead of criticising all and sundry whenever there is the chance you'd be better off staying neutral in that department and just purely focusing on Argentina's positives. I have pride in NZ rugby and it's achievements but I'm not afraid to voice criticism with my own country or countrymen when I feel that NZ is not right and not doing things good enough. See the example above about the Herald writers for a start!

    1. Hi Simon,

      Thank you again for your feedback. Your opinion is respected and noted. There is plenty of things wrong about Argentine rugby as is the case of all unions. In the Argentine case there is a need to enter Super Rugby, seek an improved domestic game with less power in Buenos Aires and get greater control over the calendar to have all test matches featuring Argentina´s best players.

      When talking about crowds, however, Argentina is arguably very strong overall compared to many of its peers. It moves matches nationwide. None of the home unions do which has a lot to do with Wales landing a wealth of RWC matches in 2015. Argentina has the cities and stadiums and the UAR is, increasingly, using them.

      The Pumas v NSW matches were not official matches. The UAR was not even allowed to say it was against the Waratahs due to contractual obligations between the Waratahs and Super Rugby. The match was a warm-up fixture which, in years gone by, would likely have been at a small ground and used as nothing more than a training excercise. The UAR instead looked to make something more out of it, got ESPN to cover it and sold around 40% of the venues tickets. More would have been better and nobody is suggesting otherwise nor justifying there being unsold seats.

      Had it been a test then the signs are that there would have been a larger crowd. The game v Georgia, for instance, had 15,000, yet had only 2 players named by Phelan in the 26 to tour South Africa. Conclusions are open to the individual but one comparison is that of the Junior All Blacks v Japan in 2006 at Carisbrook. There were 3,500 in attendance in a match featuring 2003 RWC All Blacks Caleb Ralph and Corey Flynn. There were other previously capped players and many who played in 2007 or 2011 too.

      The point is this match was not an international and nor was the one in Salta on Friday. The game in Dunedin was played with NZ confirmed as the 2011 host nation. In other words, Salta´s performance against NSW is not really a concern at all. Things could be better but there is no reason to believe that RWC 2023 matches in Salta would flop because of this fixture.

      The All Blacks run-out in Lower Hutt was free to the public. In Salta it was not and there were 8,000 tickets sold. NSW is not marketable in Argentina. Not like Stade Français, Montpellier or Leicester. Such teams are household names due to countless Pumas having previously and presently played for these sides. The UAR should note that Salta did not do barely as good as Santa Fé or Buenos Aires in 2012 for the matches against the Parisians.

  5. Ok Paul, some valid points made but again I ask you to stop comparing Argentina to other countries and just concentrate on Argentina's progress itself. As I've said before putting the boot into other countries actually shows disrespect and arrogance and puts a negative spin on your case. And when you are selling something, be it a product or in this case an idea, people seldom like negativity!For many people usually it's a real turn off and this blog is all about marketing Argentina as the ideal host for RWC2023.

    And BTW I find it hilarious for you to say NSW is not a marketable rugby team in Argentina when Argentina is seeking to join Super rugby! That comment concerns me. If Super rugby teams are not going to be marketable in Argentina then why should Super rugby be expanded there then??! If that is the case, it will only be a complete waste of time and more importantly, money, which as you know neither Argentina or Super rugby teams have a sackful of just to throw around.

    1. I understand your concerns. The idea is not to make Argentina look good by criticizing others. Indeed Argentina is routinely criticized for not having professional rugby and the long standing stereotype is that the sport lacks support from the public. The original concern posted regarding selling tickets to matches in Argentina for the Rugby Championship is a fair one but as I have tried to show the matches against South Africa, New Zealand Australia should not be lowly attended due to how many attended a warm-up fixture. Using comparisons is a way to highlight that it is comparable to elsewhere.

      The point made is that at the current point in time NSW is not as marketable as Stade Français. This does not imply that Super Rugby teams will not be marketable in Argentina in 2016. It means that in 2013 the networks prefer the product from the north and, consequently, the drawing power of NSW is not currently as strong as it is elsewhere. There is much more European rugby than Super Rugby broadcast throughout South America. When Argentina enters Super Rugby it is likely to change.

      Again, I would like to appologize to you for you feeling that the posts and / or comments are negative. This was never the intention.

    2. Part of arguing for Argentina 2023 must be why it is a better option than other bids and what Argentina can offer better.

      For instance better crowds for Tier 2 matches as opposed to Italy, one country as opposed to the UK, less struggle for suitable stadia as opposed to Ireland, newer territory with the potential to perhaps help the rest of the continent's progress including perhaps Brazil as opposed to South Africa which has little other money makers for the IRB in the continent.